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When Avery Bullard, President of the Tredway Corporation dies, it's discovered that he failed to name a successor. Now, it's up to the board to choose one. The result is a corporate power struggle. While some Board members politic for Loren Shaw, the skilled, if not slick, businessman. In the other corner, those in support of Don Walling duke it out. He's a talented engineer with a love for the corporation's product line. Based on a Cameron Hawley novel, this film the inspiration for a 1970's TV series.
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As a business professor, I have used the closing boardroom scene in this film for several years (before the DVD, in hard-to-find VHS format) as a vivid contrast to a similar scene from "Other people's money," to illustrate the conflicts within a company, making choices between the short- and long-run, between the customer and the employee, between the shareholder and the local citizen. In the end, we see a powerful argument for wealth creation, not just "maximizing shareholder value", as the most effective, long-term, sustainable business strategy is, as Holden says, to give customers what they want, at prices they can afford and, when better products come along, we give them those. Only then will companies truly thrive.
Some aspects of the film are cliched, somewhat dated, yet effective: Holden's family life and struggle for a work-life balance, the vice president of sales' affair with his secretary, the womanizing director of communications. But they all ring true and they all still exist today, just not in black and white. The compact time line of the story helps build pressure without ringing false. This is a film that can be studied and discussed, not just enjoyed.